N INSPIRATIONAL brain tumour patient from Leamington dedicated himself to a gruelling cycle in aid of the charity supporting him.
Ben Burton and nearly 20 friends, set out to cycle 104km from Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, to Warwick Castle, raising £7,000 for the Brain Tumour Charity.
The Castle to Castle Cycle was devised by the 48-year-old and close friends Andy Pell, Will Larkin, and Adam Bellerby, to raise funds and awareness of brain tumours.
The route, leaving from Ludlow, where Ben was born, and finishing in Warwickshire, where he now lives, took in many hills – and was a considerable challenge for Ben particularly since his diagnosis of a Glioblastoma brain tumour.
Andy, Will and Adam met Ben over 20 years ago as team mates, when they all played for Leamington Hockey Club.
Since his diagnosis, they have been inspired to support him in his double mission – raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity while inspiring people to get more active.
Ben said before the event: “I want to bring together family and friends to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. I know Shropshire isn’t flat and I’m not looking forward to the 1000m of climbing, including Clee Hill, so it’s going to be a tough ask as I haven’t been able to train as much as I’d like.”
Ben, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, as well as battling the effects of recent radiotherapy sessions, cycled 84km of the 104km journey, and would have completed more if fellow riders hadn’t insisted he take a break.
Challenge organiser Will Larkin said: “This event was classic Ben, full of fun, energy and inspiring people to get out on their bike. Andy, Adam and I wanted to support Ben during this most challenging of times, because he is just a brilliant guy, by showing that we were there for him and this is what we came up with. It was great to see Ben enjoy himself on the ride with so many friends around him, and the reception he got on our arrival was just amazing.”
Andy Pell added: “We wanted the cycle ride to be a challenge but also as inclusive as possible, getting as many people of all cycling abilities taking part as we could, and it was especially great that Debbie and Ben’s young daughters could join us for the last part of the ride, through Warwick and to the finish at the castle.
“Ben is one of the good guys and has been there for all of us over the years, so this time it was fantastic for everyone to show that they are there for him, we are all Team Burton.”
Charity spokesperson Gina Almond said: “We are extremely grateful for all the efforts made by our fantastic fundraisers and wish them all the very best.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and, unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last 40 years.
“We are leading the way in changing this and truly fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work.
“We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations, so it’s only through the efforts of people like Ben, Andy, Will and Adam that we can change these shocking statistics in the future and bring hope to the thousands of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year.”